In Season 9, it appears How I Met Your Mother is determined to assassinate Robin’s character, and it’s even more glaring than the show’s insistence on making the two days before a wedding last for an entire season. Robin’s not necessarily “unlikeable” in the plain sense of the word, but she’s quickly becoming a pretty terrible person. It’s getting to the point where we’re not hoping the show gets on with it and marries Barney and Robin already because we want these crazy kids to have a happily ever after — we just want some episodes that don’t revolve around two pretty awful people.
Now, Barney has always been awful. That’s who he is, who he’s been, and who he’s going to be for the foreseeable future. Robin, however, has been confusing, a little selfish, and ultimately a little mixed up for most of the series' eight seasons. This season, however, she’s gone in a woeful direction.
Only a few weeks ago, Robin was revealed to be a woman who hates other women, spewing half-baked stereotypes and blaming Lily for her sad bachelorette party despite not being able to even name one friendly co-worker. Last week, she took Barney’s recently-divorced brother’s wedding ring in a poker game just to prove a point. This week, she’s joining Barney’s typically disgusting presentation of Ted’s options for wedding weekend hookups by saying one candidate sounds like a 1980s car alarm when she’s having sex (and that apparently “dudes love that”).
What’s more is that she throws her own Maid of Honor, Lily, under the bus with the wedding officiant asks Robin and Barney for the story of how they met. She steals Lily and Marshall’s story and then actually asks Lily to lie and say Robin’s tawdry meet-cute is her own just so Robin and Barney can get married in a "cute" Hamptons church. Selfishness, thy name is Robin.
And beyond these circumstances, the dialogue works to rewrite history to make Robin’s past appear more sordid; Lily eventually recalls Robin’s relationship with her boss as Robin “feeling up her boss” when it was more of a relationship. It's a hamfisted attempt to make Robin a sexual predator like Barney, and thus more "worthy" of her horndog fiancé.
But it’s really becoming difficult to laugh at Robin’s one-liners because all these twists are adding up to one deplorable character. Barney has been pulling these sorts of stunts for seasons upon seasons, so he has a pass. His character was created that way, and we bought into his terribleness and loved him anyway. Robin doesn't have her own version of this contract. Besides, why is it that when Robin is about to marry Barney, she has to absorb his personality? Barney isn’t taking on her love of hockey or her proclivity for dorkiness. Instead, Robin is becoming Lady Barney, except she doesn’t get any female friends besides Lily. She’s basically been marooned with her future-husband.
More likely than not, this is an unconscious effort on the part of the writers’ to steer viewers away from the lingering Ted-Loves-Robin bone (and perhaps that’s why we’ve spent five whole episodes experiencing the day before the day before the wedding). We need to be ready to rejoice when Ted meets the mother at the Farhampton Long Island Railroad station, but Robin’s character doesn’t necessarily need to suffer in order to make that possible.
At this point in time, we should be able to trust these characters enough to believe Barney and Robin when they declare that they’re meant to be. We shouldn’t need to morph Robin’s character away from the parts of her that are compatible with Ted in order to hop on board. The whole point of Robin’s character, once she graduated from “Ted’s girlfriend Robin,” is that she doesn’t adhere to the stereotypical image of a sitcom woman. She’s strange, she’s mildly abrasive, and she’s got a few little seemingly-insane habits, but she’s a whole person and ultimately, we like her.
Now, it seems we’re being forced to write her off so that no fans are left behind, rooting for a relationship that will never be. Sure, it will help some viewers come to a uniform conclusion, but I, for one, don’t appreciate being herded so aggressively to find the same conclusion as the rest of the audience. Besides, did the writers ever think that maybe we would have come to that conclusion on our own, without having to assassinate Robin’s character?